Monday, October 14, 2013

Runaway Government, Part II

As I write this, the Congressional debates, political posturing, and media coverage over the shutdown and upcoming debt default continue.  To try to understand where our money is coming from and where it is going, I referred to our 2012 1040 tax instructions, which contain the pie charts below.

Look at the Federal government's 2011 income, on the left. 36% is borrowed!!! How long could any of us manage to live by borrowing more than a third of our income??? Most of that is in the form of IOU's to domestic entities and savings bonds (probably), and some is borrowed from foreign nations. We owe China more than $1.25 TRILLION!!!

On the right side, of course, is the spending. Of that entire pie, 68% consists of various kinds of benefits programs, which a large percent of our population has come to expect from the government. The Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) will make the problem even worse, adding to that percentage, while increasing our taxes, in a foolhardy attempt at making up for its costs. The rest of our annual spending consists of 24% alotted to the military and related expenses, 6% for interest on the $16 trillion national debt, and 2% for law enforcement and general government.

We all know there is a significant amount of waste, much of it a direct result of twisted politics, such as the practice of attaching money for pet projects to bills, in order to attract more votes. But there is also very little oversight in determining who should receive money, via the various benefit programs. While there are many who genuinely need the help, there are probably as many who take advantage. For example, people I know have told me they choose not to work, because their unemployment benefits pay as well as any job they can get. Others learn to work the system, continuing to receive money long after they're no longer eligible. There simply isn't enough oversight, but it's probably cheaper to suffer the abuse than to spend additional resources to stop it.

I'm not advocating leaving people in need out in the cold (what kind of Christian would I be???), but I do not believe it is the government's role to take care of them. My solution? You may have already guessed, but come on back for Part III....

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